VVSD Senior Leadership
the maximizing of human potential and a meaningful, fulfilling life.
Our veterans are worthy of nothing less.
Phil Landis, President and Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Landis enlisted in the United States Army in 1965. After attending various military schools, he served in Vietnam from 1967 - 1968 as a Platoon Leader and Headquarters Company Commander with the First Battalion Thirty-Fifth Infantry. He was honorably discharged from active duty in 1969 with the rank of Captain. He is a native Californian and was formerly a real estate agent. Mr. Landis became a Board member of Veterans Village of San Diego in 1996, Vice-Chairman in 1997, Chairman in 2001 and Chief Executive Officer in 2007. He currently serves on the national 12-member Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans.
Andre Simpson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer
An Air Force veteran, Mr. Simpson was previously Director of Community Reintegration for VVSD, and has been associated with VVSD since 1996 when he was hired in the capacity of counselor and employment case manager. He has developed many new and exciting initiatives for VVSD, including the development of the monthly Homeless Court Program, a 150-bed Veteran Winter Shelter, and a Non-Custodial Parent Program in collaboration with San Diego County Department of Child Support Services.
Harry Guess, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Guess brings over 20 years of Executive and Financial management experience as a Senior Military officer and non Profit Executive. As a Navy Supply corps Officer, he served afloat in the Submarine, Aviation and Surface Warfare communities and while assigned ashore advanced to certified subspecialties in Finance, Retail and Logistics. Since retiring from the Navy in 1998, he has served in local community non profit organizations as a Chief Financial Officer and as a Chief Administrator. Mr. Guess became Chief Financial Officer for VVSD in 2008.
Tom Mitchell, Vice President of Communications and Development
Mr. Mitchell has vast experience in the area of communications and fundraising. He is a two-tour Vietnam combat veteran who served as a dog handler with the USAF and founded the Vietnam Dog Handler Association. On his return home from Vietnam, Mr. Mitchell worked for CBS News with Walter Cronkite. In 1976, Mr. Mitchell moved to San Diego where his distinguished television career continued, serving as the News Director at two San Diego television stations, KNSD and KUSI. From 1987-1992 he was the Senior Vice President for the America's Cup Organizing Committee. From 1998-2006 he was the Director of Communications and Community Involvement for San Diego Unified School District.
Claudia Castro, Executive Assistant to the President & CEO A retired Marine First Sergeant, Ms. Castro served from 1990-2010 to include a combat tour to Iraq in 2008. Ms. Castro joined the VVSD team October 2011 after earning her degree in Business Administration/Management. She is a native Californian and has extensive experience in the administration field, serving for over 10 years as a Senior Administrator and transitioning into a leadership role as a Company First Sergeant her last 3 yrs in the Marines.